Homicide, Arson Investigation Opened in Fire that Burned Missing Benicia Family's Cabin - NBC Bay Area
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Homicide, Arson Investigation Opened in Fire that Burned Missing Benicia Family's Cabin

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    The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office has opened a homicide and arson investigation into a fire that burned down a Benicia family's Garden Valley cabin last week, sheriff's officials said Wednesday. Pete Suratos reports. (Published Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015)

    The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office has opened a homicide and arson investigation into a fire that burned down a Benicia family's Garden Valley cabin last week, sheriff's officials said Wednesday.

    The family - Adam Buchanan, his partner Molly McAfee, and their 8-year-old son Gavin - has been missing since Sept. 11, when they headed to the cabin in the 4600 block of state Highway 193 for a weekend trip, according to family attorney Steve Gizzi.

    At about 11 a.m. on Sept. 13, firefighters responded to a 10-acre fire in the area. Once the fire was out, they realized the cabin had burned and found the remains of two people inside, according to the sheriff's office.

    On Wednesday, sheriff's officials said the possible remains of a third person had been found as well.

    The coroner's office has so far been unable to determine the identity of the victims and have sent samples for DNA testing but it could be some time before a positive identity is confirmed, sheriff's officials said.

    The couple has a third son, who is 16 years old and stayed behind while his parents and brother went to the cabin, Gizzi said.

    Sheriff's investigators interviewed immediate family members in the days after the fire mainly to ask questions about the cabin, Gizzi said.

    In the following days, they returned with a search warrant and searched the family's home and Buchanan's real estate and construction business, seizing one of their vehicles.

    So far they have not shared any suspicions with the family, a fact that Gizzi called "very frustrating."

    "We have a family that potentially has lost three of its members and it's very frustrating," Gizzi said. "We're hoping for some resolution and closure."

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